[Mono-dev] Licensing [WAS: Cross-platform command-lines]

Charlie Poole charlie at nunit.com
Wed Aug 8 15:16:34 EDT 2007

Hi Mirco,

NOTE: This is getting somewhat OT, so if it bothers anyone, we
can take it outside. :-)

> > Believe me, I know. There have been a few apps that used 
> some of the 
> > NUnit code, modifying it and redistributing the assemblies 
> sometimes 
> > even with indistinguishable version numbers. That's one reason I'm 
> > thinking of licensing changes, BTW.
> The GPL/LGPL license protects your source code from some 
> things like this. AFAIK there are no other licenses with more 
> strictness regarding source code distribution/usage than the 
> (L)GPL while still being free software, except 
> non-free/non-opensource licenses. 

I put NUnitLite under OSL, which is a less-used OSI-approved
license with copyleft features. There are a few others like
that as well. 

A test framework has the added issue that users must link to
some of the assemblies in order to even use it. That makes
those assemblies (e.g. nunit.framework) better under LGPL
or MIT but everything else can be copyleft to prevent use
in non-free testing products - which is my intention.

> Whatever you change to, 
> please use an OSI approved licenses [0] or at least DSFG [1] 
> complaint licenses (like the Shared Source lincenses from MS 
> are not OSI approved (yet) but still some are DFSG complaint)

Definitely. I expect to use one of the OSI licenses that was not
deprecated in their effort to reduce license proliferation.
A problem to be aware of with MS Shared Source is that it is not
a template-style license. Technically, I think that means you
create new license when you substitute your own name for "Microsoft"

> > 
> > OTOH, not having a binary package is an issue for some 
> users who are 
> > not oriented toward open source. For example, I have a lot of NUnit 
> > users, working for a certain large software company here in the 
> > NorthWest, who are not permitted to download our source. :-(
> Not permitted as in "by company policy"? IMHO using source is 
> not more or less secure (in licensing terms/conditions) than 
> using binaries.

Yup. The rationale is that if you saw the source someone might later
claim that you reused the code and sue that big company. This is
in spite of the fact that NUnit's license permits you to do pretty
much anything.

> [0] http://www.opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical
> [1] http://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines
> --
> Regards,
> Mirco 'meebey' Bauer
> PGP-Key ID: 0xEEF946C8
> FOSS Developer    meebey at meebey.net  http://www.meebey.net/
> PEAR Developer    meebey at php.net     http://pear.php.net/
> Debian Developer  meebey at debian.org  http://www.debian.org/

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